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Portrait of Gen. David Petraeus
Gen. David "Sorry, Fox,
not gonna be president" Petraeus
Remember waaaaaaay back when Gen. David Petraeus was the most awesomest general who ever generaled, and if you were to criticize him or his generaling, well, you hated America and freedom and had to apologize and also get a spanking from Congress?

That's all over now, of course, because while being in charge of a catastrophe of a war is just fine—heck, it's as American as apple pie!—it is not okay to be director of the CIA and have sexytime with a woman who is not your wife, so now everyone who used to believe Petraeus was God is all, like, "Petraeus who? Oh, and it was the woman's fault for seducing him because, you know, chicks, man."

But before Petraeus became Disgraced Former CIA Director PetraeusTM, it turns out that Roger Ailes, founder and chairman of the propaganda arm of the Republican Party (aka Fox "News"), had a totally fair and balanced plan to make Petraeus president. Via the Washington Post, please enjoy this comedy:

So in spring 2011, Ailes asked a Fox News analyst headed to Afghanistan to pass on his thoughts to Petraeus, who was then the commander of U.S. and coalition forces there. Petraeus, Ailes advised, should turn down an expected offer from President Obama to become CIA director and accept nothing less than the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top military post. If Obama did not offer the Joint Chiefs post, Petraeus should resign from the military and run for president, Ailes suggested.
Let us pause so you can finish laughing your collective asses off at the head of Fox sending his minions off to Afghanistan to offer career advice to Petraeus. Ready? Okay, let's continue. Here was the genius plan:
[Fox News national security analyst Kathleen T.] McFarland also said that Ailes — who had a decades-long career as a Republican political consultant, advising Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush — might resign as head of Fox to run a Petraeus presidential campaign. At one point, McFarland and Petraeus spoke about the possibility that Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corp., which owns Fox News, would “bankroll” the campaign.
So Ailes would run the campaign, Rupert Murdoch would bankroll it, and as for the Fox organization? Well:
At one point, McFarland declared that “everybody at Fox loves you,” adding that Ailes had directed her to ask Petraeus whether “there [is] anything Fox is doing, right or wrong, that you want to tell us to do differently?”
Awwww. Isn't that so nice of Fox to ask Petraeus how the whole gang could adjust its war coverage to better suit his/Fox's political aspirations? It's so fair! And balanced!

Of course, we all know that Petraeus was offered the CIA gig, so he didn't have to resign and run against President Barack Obama to teach him a lesson. Not that Petraeus was interested because—and please do take precautions not to die laughing—it wouldn't be fair to his wife. No, seriously:

“It’s never going to happen,” Petraeus said. “You know it’s never going to happen. It really isn’t.

“My wife would divorce me,” he added. “And I love my wife. . . . We have a beautiful house.” Both Petraeus and McFarland laughed. “With his-and-hers bathrooms, believe it or not. I just want to live in it. I’ve never spent a night in it.”

Oh, irony. It's so ironic sometimes, isn't it?

Yes, this looks bad. If you listen to the audio of the conversation between Petraeus and McFarland, it sounds bad too. A supposed news organization trying to handpick its own president, even offering to adjust its war coverage to do so? Doesn't sound very ethical, does it?

But it's all okay because it was just a joke!

In a telephone interview Monday, the wily and sharp-tongued Ailes said he did indeed ask McFarland to make the pitch to Petraeus. “It was more of a joke, a wiseass way I have,” he said. “I thought the Republican field [in the primaries] needed to be shaken up and Petraeus might be a good candidate.”
Get it? Funny! Ha ha ha. And besides:
Ailes added, “It sounds like she thought she was on a secret mission in the Reagan administration. . . . She was way out of line. . . . It’s someone’s fantasy to make me a kingmaker. It’s not my job.” He said that McFarland was not an employee of Fox but a contributor paid less than $75,000 a year.
See? If Ailes had been serious about using his news organization to install its own president, he would have sent one of the high-paid "analysts" to make the offer. So never mind.

Originally posted to Kaili Joy Gray on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 09:05 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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